Tomorrow, at the ungodly hour of seven-thirty I make my third and final trip to Smiles Dental House of Horrors (not its real name) to get two chipped teeth repaired (not caused by chewing on branches or twigs) and then I have to suffer through the obligatory cleaning where the pissed off dental hygienist tries to scrape off every speck of enamel I have left while muttering about my gums bleeding on her instruments. All hygienists are pissed off, it’s in their job description. Plaque makes them downright belligerent. They really should try to be thankful for it, because – come on – without it, they would be unemployed.
All my life I’ve been a dentist avoider. I prefer to wait until the situation gets serious before wasting their time on something as boring as mere maintenance. I went for two days once with a toothache because I was afraid of the pain the dentist might cause with his drills. So I guess you would call that suffering pain to avoid suffering pain. Not the proudest or brightest page in my life story.
My dental phobia is a lot milder than it used to be, thanks to a great dentist who has a lot of patience with wimps. All it takes is a couple of traumatic experiences as a child to instill a lifelong fear – and then a hundred million non traumatic visits to get over it. I just have to keep telling myself that it’s an hour or two – that’s all – and then it’s over. And I can come home and play candy crush for the rest of the day. There’s still that little kid in me who likes to be rewarded for being brave.